By William Pasillas
Elans were shown how the recent cuts and policies affect our standard of education at the Political Awareness Day event held in the auditorium’s foyer.
Attendees were informed about how severe the cuts are and what they can do to stop or prevent further cuts. A banner was placed on the wall that read “46 dollars per unit = 552 full time WHATS NEXT.”
Reflecting the recent decision to raise the cost of a unit from $36 to $46 that goes into effect summer 2012. Herlim Li explained to the audience that in the past education was funded by Pell Grants and only one third was funded by loans. Now that has changed, one third is funded by grants, such as Pell and Cal Grants, and the other two thirds are funded by loans. He said that because of bad policies the millennial generation might be the first to not be better off than their parents.
Representatives from the offices of Assemblymen Ricardo Lara of the 50th district and Mike Eng of the 49th District spoke and said that the assemblymen do not support butting the education budget. They were there to make sure that students knew that these assemblymen support students.
When interviewed, Li said that he is worried because he is going to have to compete with other students for summer classes because there iare no summer offerings at other colleges. “I go to different schools and (students) say ‘We better go to ELAC for summer.”
Lou Calanche, a speaker and professor has seen the effects of budget cuts from her own classes. She has been forced to turn away more students that are trying to add. She says that professors should not be put in tough situations. “It’s really sad for our community, because whenever there’s cuts it impacts our community the most,”said Calanche.
Speaker Adrian Landa-Guzman of Inner City Struggle said that we are,“fighting for crumbs” because of cuts. Inner City Struggle works at the grass-roots level organizing the communities in the Eastside. He urged many in the audience to sign up to help them organize and inform people in the community. He says that many people will support legislation to stop cuts but not many are informed.
According to Landa-Guzman Barack Obama won the presidency due to “tipping point” which is when people who normally don’t vote, get out to vote. That is what his group is out to do by gathering voters and giving people information. Adriana Aguilar spoke to the crowd about her experience as a first generation student and how budget cuts impact her and her family. She said that her brother is considering coming to ELAC because it is the cheaper option but with the rise in tuition rates that may not be true anymore.
A large crowd of Elans filled the foyer. Many chose to stand as they listened to the presentations. More chairs had to be brought in, but it was still not enough to seat everyone. Student and audience member Christina Castillo said that people should care more about what is going on and that we shouldn’t let ourselves get pushed around. She continued by saying that budget cuts have held her back from transferring because she can’t get the classes she needs.
Student Alejandra Onofre is not only affected by cuts at school but outside of school as well. She has delayed transferring due to not being able to get into a math class she needed. Cuts have caused her to begin paying for childcare for her two children, which used to be free.
She fears that further cuts will put a strain on her wallet. She says she feels like these cuts are cutting back on her life.